My iPad, a (little over) six months later

A few thoughts on iPad ownership, just over six months since it came out and I bought one (well, Leslie bought one for me and I bought it from her), in no particular order (other than I have piled up some links as of late on this):

  • I’ve shown this to students in my in-class version of English 121, to my informal gatherings with grad students, and with other students I’ve met with in my office for one reason or another, and they are generally unimpressed.  I’m not entirely sure what that means, other than there is still a fairly hard-core less than interested adopters out there in a segment of the population I would think might be interested in these things.
  • The iPad has taken off at a lightening-quick pace.  At this rate, a) my students will be sold on the usefulness of these things soon, and b) textbook companies had better start thinking about ways to take advantage of these things.
  • The iPad is not a substitute for a computer, and now that the fall term is well underway, I find myself using my laptop a lot more than I did over the spring/summer.  There are certain things that I need to do with my laptop in my teaching that would be more trouble than it is worth with my iPad.  I mention this in part because I had a link at one point (I think I misplaced it now) where a college was giving students the choice of getting (as part of their “package” of some sort– this was a small and expensive school) either an iPad or a laptop and the college was surprised at the number of students who wanted the laptop.  Well, DUH! My iPad can do lots of cool things, but not as many as my laptop or my desktop.
  • The iPad can create content, and here’s a link to a good article about “10 Ways People Are Using The iPad To Create Content, Not Just Consume It.” What’s interesting here is that the people who are using the iPad to create tend not to be writers– that is, the iPad is really good for painting, mixing music, editing photos, DJ-ing, etc.
  • That said, here’s a good and interesting link called “iPad Apps For Writers.” I had my own thoughts of the iPad as a writerly device way back when, but I think that purpose and “space” is everything here.  As I wrote before, I do much/most of my writing (including this post) at my desk and on a desktop computer.  As I’ve mentioned already, I tend to use a laptop at school most often because of its functionality and its usefulness for typing stuff in a meeting or whatever.  But I do like taking my iPad and my keyboard to a coffee shop once in a while, too.
  • I read on my iPad a fair amount (see below), but those bastards at WIRED are still dead to me.  And, from what I read, there’s still a lot of fuzziness and confusion about how a newspaper or magazine subscription via the iPad might work.  This is a shame.  The publishing industry dubbed this thing the Jesus tablet because they saw it as a way of saving them, and it just might– if the greedy publishing bastards and the greedy Apple bastards could just come to term.
  • What do I use my iPad for, you ask?  I like the email interface quite a bit.  I do some light web browsing, and while the lack of Flash is an issue, not huge.  Weatherbug.  Facebook. Kayak (great app). Calendar.  Facebook.  Keynote (probably more than Pages). I like “Reader” as an RSS feed reader quite a bit too.  But…
  • … my “killer app” remains iAnnotate, and while my students generally don’t get the point of this thing, when I show them iAnnotate and the PDFs I’ve assigned for our classes, there is a bit of a light bulb moment.  It is an excellent app.  Seriously, this is a revelation/revolution for me about reading these kinds of documents.  I’ll never work with nasty paper photocopies again.
  • And I like the Kindle and the iBooks apps quite a bit too, especially while reading in bed in the dark.  Which I’m soon going to go do.

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